New Year Reflection

1/1/11:  Our family’s New Year’s tradition is to spend some time journaling about the year past – what it has been for us, what it means to us – and then look ahead into the new year to try to discern the direction we are headed.  For me, the year 2010 began with a sense of emerging from a long tunnel and rejoining the normal world, a kind of waking-up a la Rip van Winkle after being narrowly and intently focused for a few years.  It seemed that now, things would be easier.  As the year unfolded, there was much good, yet also a strangeness and unfamiliarity that were not easy or comfortable.  I have changed, my close relationships have changed, and in fact, the world has changed.  I will always be a mother, but with my child now an adult am no longer one in the same sense I was a few years back.  This is both a loss and a relief.  It also changes my relationship with my husband; we are growing closer, and this is a gain.  As I age, health is more of a concern, politics less (the world, I realize, will go on its way with or without my “help”).  The pace, technologies, and interests of the world around me seem less and less relevant to my life, and I find myself bemused at the upside-downness of it all.  Trying to live into all this has been like looking for a solid place to stand on quaking ground.

Today I read Fr. Tom’s Blog in which he also looks at the year past, but through the lens of seeing what has been learned along the way (see http://wp.me/pps5h-5R ).    I especially like his insight that delight is all around us, and that we are meant to take the time to find it.   

So – what have I learned? 

  1.  I have learned, again, that family and friends, our love relationships, are the real treasures of our lives.  Joy comes from keeping them, and also from holding them loosely enough to let them change and be open to new ones.
  2. Prayer is always answered, and to the extent that we open and join ourselves to God’s intentions, we will see those answers.
  3. Waiting brings doubts, and doubts bring struggle, and struggle brings strengthening.
  4. We cannot really rest unless we rest in God.

New challenges lie ahead¸ new instabilities and surprising solidities.  The word I received this morning, though, is, “Hand over the anxieties and the striving.  Just enjoy the ride.”

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5 Responses to New Year Reflection

  1. Fr. Lazarus says:

    I especially like #1… Thanks for articulating it. I have also learned this lesson about relationships in the last year or so. Relationships cannot stay the same. They MUST be allowed to change (The hope is that they will deepen. But that is not always what happens when they change. All of us who are old enough have experienced that irony/tragedy.)… When we hold them loosely we do not control the other person. That is risky but essential.

  2. Peggy says:

    I agree with Father about #1. Some relationships change and some end, and letting go is sometimes the best thing to do. The older I get, the easier it is to let go of things and of people who no longer feed my soul or never did. Sometimes the letting go for me is letting go of what I wanted the relationship to be rather than what it truly was. And that’s quite liberating, as it turns out.

    But the friends who are true – they’re the ones you don’t have to hold on to because you never doubt their loyalties. And that is such a treasured gift!

  3. Fr. Jim says:

    Being let go of and letting go sounds hard but the holding loosely is so important. God reveals to us the healthy way to flow with the other’s change. Remembering God is in this with us and our loved ones. He is about our healing and wholeness. Jesus healed, forgave and loved all that he came into contact with when he was here. Those who were opposed to him probably did not feel loved. The truth is hard at times. I want to spend the rest of my days here resting in Him! I still have a job to do, but it is His job that I am willing to do. Thanks, Susan, for getting us thinking and talking.

  4. Allison says:

    Yay for your books moving!!!
    and I like the post about this year’s realizing how much (or little) everything really matters in the owrld. maybe these are the worldly things we are not supposed to be driven by..I agree tho, they do make life seem upside-down and it’s much simpler to relax without them.

    I often think about your posting awhile back about how the computer and tv remote call to us even when we are trying to relax…makes me laugh 🙂

    Oh, and it is so nice to hear about you and Uncle Jim getting closer as people, not just parents…very encouraging for the future 🙂
    thanks for sharing

    Love ya

    Allison

  5. Kim Reid says:

    Wonderful news of progress on the books, Susan!

    What a good idea to pause and reflect on the year past. I need to do that before I’ve forgotten the entire year completely! 2010 seems mainly a blur that rushed in and rushed out, and I’m still spinning.

    Like you, I am realizing that the world is going to do its thing, whether I like it sometimes or not at all, and that the only real positive effect I can have on it is in individual relationships and through prayer. (But, I don’t think I’ll give up writing my representatives while we still have the Republic!)

    That you and Jim are drawing closer is wonderful, and since that’s as it should be, you must be living right.

    Finally, holding relationships loosely, not far from our hearts, but loosely in grip, does incorporate that rest in God….by not desperately needing a mere person to fill our needs, which only He can do.

    Thanks for this post.

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